Letters / Angry at what government has done to this city

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The concrete capital of Australia? Is this the Canberra we want to leave for future generations, asks letter writer Noel Bartone.

“I’m challenging the media to take a stand against the ACT government on what it has done with this city, which has become the concrete capital of Australia. We are seeing the slow death of the bush capital,” says letter writer NOEL BARTONE.

I’M not a candidate in the forthcoming election nor a member of any party. I was heavily involved in the Labor movement previously serving on the ACT Labor Council as a delegate and working as a union organiser.

I’m now just a citizen so angry at what the ACT Labor/Greens government has done to the city.

I was born in Canberra and, instead of complaining, I’ve decided to be  active. 

I’m challenging the media to take a stand against the ACT government on what it has done with this city, which has become the concrete capital of Australia. We are seeing the slow death of the bush capital. 

I find it outrageous that the Labor/Greens government justifies building the light rail as part of the Burley Griffin Plan; if that’s the case, why have they abandoned the city of gardens and trees that was the Burley Griffin’s plan for this city.

The ACT Greens need to be called out for their hypocrisy; on one hand, they’re all about climate change, but then they’ve created a city that’s getting hotter due to their vision of a compressed city of buildings and no green spaces.

Noel Bartone, via email

Fix the roads first

RE the Athllon Drive upgrade: when we bought our block in Torrens in 1966 we were influenced by the fact that the proposed Athllon Drive would be for public transport vehicles only. 

Now it has become a noisy race track. Increasing the number of traffic lanes will mean more traffic and more noise, something that most nearby residents would oppose.

The government could spend the $135 million in repairing existing roads, many of which are developing dangerous potholes.

Gordon Worrall, Torrens

Has Andrew forgotten about Brendan?

ANDREW Barr is reported to be unimpressed with Jon Stanhope’s decision to accept an offer to spearhead the Liberals’ proposed poverty taskforce should the Liberals win the coming elections. 

Has Andrew Barr forgotten how he lured Brendan Smyth, a senior serving member of the Liberal Party, away from the party just before the last election by offering him a plum job as the inaugural commissioner for international engagement on a hefty salary? 

By the way, what has become of Brendan Smyth? He has not been seen nor heard of again by the ACT public. Is the ACT taxpayer still paying his salary?

Ann Cooper, Wanniassa

[In the absence of international engagement, Mr Smyth has been working as the ACT’s COVID-19 local business commissioner – Editor.]

‘Contempt’ for Canberrans

I FULLY concur with columnist Michael Moore (CN, September 3) on his spot-on piece about the forthcoming ACT election, “Suddenly working for votes?”

Yes, the Labor/Greens coalition seems to be desperately carrying out minor road works and calling our attention to them via embarrassing signs.

I must share a recent experience I had of the ACT government’s inefficiency and contempt for Canberrans through its Minister Chris Steel. In January, I sent him a letter pointing out the rundown condition of the two large signs at the entrance and exit of Commonwealth Bridge. I attached two photos and mentioned the urgency to install new signs as this area must be the most touristic of our capital. 

Six months later I received his reply, not commenting on the subject matter at all but instructing me to address my suggestion to Access Canberra. Disgraceful, and I told him so on his Facebook page and in an email.

I hope Canberrans are not as blind as to keep on electing this type of element that, after 19 years, is showing more and more complacency and disdain for a large section of our capital’s population.

 Vivien Munoz, Holt

Sleeping rough or receive a $10,000 subsidy to buy an electric car, who has the greater need, asks letter writer Cedric Bryant.

Appalled at electric car subsidy

I WAS appalled at MLA Shane Rattenbury’s suggestion that if the Greens are elected they will set aside $50m to subsidise those buying electric cars by $10,000 a car. 

For a start, the long-term viability of electric cars is doubtful.

The use of clean hydrogen for vehicles is already being used extensively in the UK and other EU countries as the perfect clean energy for buses and trucks. 

However, this is not the point, as Chief Minister Andrew Barr keeps telling us, Canberra has the highest-paid workers in Australia, yet in every town centre and in some suburban centres we see homeless people sleeping rough. 

The successful Safe Shelter program instituted by Richard Griffiths could not operate this year due to the virus. Did the ACT government offer an alternative? No! Rattenbury’s $50 million could provide a substantial amount of low-cost housing rather than going to those high earners, who could easily afford an electric car and don’t need a donation of $10,000!

Cedric Bryant, Watson

More answers before the election

SENATOR Zed Seselja’s influence does loom large over Coe and Co’s deliberate yet poorly envisioned “rates and rubbish”-style electioneering campaign (Paul Costigan, CN, September 3). 

While carefully hiding away their conservative and regressive positions on many social and personal choice issues, the ACT Liberals also shirk from sharing their strategies for delivering core promises about freezing rates and lowering taxes while ensuring better services. 

They have had four years to consider what they would like to alter, reduce or remove, in order to fund and realise their priorities for us.

Will temporary new fees be attached to some services and the hire of community facilities? Will urban development planning processes and construction activity outcomes be less scrutinised? 

Will ACT Public Service recruitment be frozen and employees denied wage increases over the next four years? Will some basic maintenance tasks in our suburbs be left to ratepayers volunteering for working bees? Will local bus operations be further cut and broken journeys stretch out more in morning peak hour and mid-afternoon travel periods, so new dedicated and direct bus services can run across Canberra for non-government school students? 

Will women’s reproductive health rights and services be interfered with, given this has been an area of high and consistent interest for some in the current shadow ministry, over many years? 

More information and answers are certainly needed well before October 17.

Sue Dyer, Downer 

Ask the children about statues

COLUMNIST Robert Macklin’s reminder of the stature of Sir John McEwan in our political history is convincing (CN, September 3). Less convincing is the idea that a statue is the best way to remember his achievements. Let’s think of another reason for new statues.

Let’s think of statues that celebrate Australian achievement; statues that will delight all who encounter them, both young and old. 

Imagine Storm Boy and Mr Percival (“Storm Boy” by Colin Thiele) in the parliamentary triangle, not far from the National Library and Questacon. We could add Lief and Jasmine of Deltora (“Deltora Quest” series by Emily Rodda). 

Let’s celebrate the richness Australian children’s literature and with statues that will be visited and revisited with joy by Canberrans and visitors. Jackie French has given us Josephine the dancing kangaroo. Mem Fox has given us “Possum Magic”. Who would you choose?

London has Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, and New York has Alice in Wonderland in Central Park. Seattle has a troll under a bridge, Bremen has town musicians, Boston has “Make Way for Ducklings” and Copenhagen, the Little Mermaid.

Let’s be proud of Australian children’s literature. The Canadians have named not one, but two primary schools after their beloved children’s story teller Robert Munsch who gave children everywhere “The Paper Bag Princess”. 

Let’s ask our children and their teachers who they would like to visit in Canberra.

Robin McCallum, Higgins 

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